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Best Famous Grandmother Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Grandmother poems. This is a select list of the best famous Grandmother poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Grandmother poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of grandmother poems.

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by | |

Ride Away, Ride Away

Ride away, ride away,
  Johnny shall ride,
And he shall have pussy-cat
  Tied to one side;
And he shall have little dog
  Tied to the other,
And Johnny shall ride
  To see his grandmother.

by Maria Mazziotti Gillan | |


 I imagine them walking down rocky paths
toward me, strong, Italian women returning
at dusk from fields where they worked all day
on farms built like steps up the sides
of steep mountains, graceful women carrying water
in terra cotta jugs on their heads.
What I know of these women, whom I never met, I know from my mother, a few pictures of my grandmother, standing at the doorway of the fieldstone house in Santo Mauro, the stories my mother told of them, but I know them most of all from watching my mother, her strong arms lifting sheets out of the cold water in the wringer washer, or from the way she stepped back, wiping her hands on her homemade floursack apron, and admired her jars of canned peaches that glowed like amber in the dim cellar light.
I see those women in my mother as she worked, grinning and happy, in her garden that spilled its bounty into her arms.
She gave away baskets of peppers, lettuce, eggplant, gave away bowls of pasts, meatballs, zeppoli, loaves of homemade bread.
"It was a miracle," she said.
"The more I gave away, the more I had to give.
" Now I see her in my daughter, the same unending energy, that quick mind, that hand, open and extended to the world.
When I watch my daughter clean the kitchen counter, watch her turn, laughing, I remember my mother as she lay dying, how she said of my daughter, "that Jennifer, she's all the treasure you'll ever need.
" I turn now, as my daughter turns, and see my mother walking toward us down crooked mountain paths, behind her, all those women dressed in black Copyright 1998 © Maria Mazziotti Gillan.
All rights reserved.

by Mark Van Doren | |

Our Lady Peace

 How far is it to peace, the piper sighed,
The solitary, sweating as he paused.
Asphalt the noon; the ravens, terrified, Fled carrion thunder that percussion caused.
The envelope of earth was powder loud; The taut wings shivered, driven at the sun.
The piper put his pipe away and bowed.
Not here, he said.
I hunt the love-cool one, The dancer with the clipped hair.
Where is she? We shook our heads, parting for him to pass.
Our lady was of no such trim degree, And none of us had seen her face, alas.
She was the very ridges that we must scale, Securing the rough top.
And how she smiled Was how our strength would issue.
Not to fail Was having her, gigantic, undefiled, For homely goddess, big as the world that burned, Grandmother and taskmistress, frild and town.
We let the stranger go; but when we turned Our lady lived, fierce in each other's frown.

More great poems below...

by Katherine Mansfield | |

Butterfly Laughter

 In the middle of our porridge plates
There was a blue butterfly painted
And each morning we tried who should reach the
butterfly first.
Then the Grandmother said: "Do not eat the poor butterfly.
" That made us laugh.
Always she said it and always it started us laughing.
It seemed such a sweet little joke.
I was certain that one fine morning The butterfly would fly out of our plates, Laughing the teeniest laugh in the world, And perch on the Grandmother's lap.

by Judith Wright | |

Request to a Year

 If the year is meditating a suitable gift, 
I should like it to be the attitude 
of my great- great- grandmother, 
legendary devotee of the arts, 

who having eight children 
and little opportunity for painting pictures, 
sat one day on a high rock 
beside a river in Switzerland 

and from a difficult distance viewed 
her second son, balanced on a small ice flow,drift down the current toward a waterfall 
that struck rock bottom eighty feet below, 

while her second daughter, impeded, 
no doubt, by the petticoats of the day, 
stretched out a last-hope alpenstock 
(which luckily later caught him on his way).
Nothing, it was evident, could be done; And with the artist's isolating eye My great-great-grandmother hastily sketched the scene.
The sketch survives to prove the story by.
Year, if you have no Mother's day present planned, Reach back and bring me the firmness of her hand.

by Robert William Service | |

The Mother

 Your children grow from you apart,
 Afar and still afar;
And yet it should rejoice your heart
 To see how glad they are;
In school and sport, in work and play,
 And last, in wedded bliss
How others claim with joy to-day
 The lips you used to kiss.
Your children distant will become, And wide the gulf will grow; The lips of loving will be dumb, The trust you used to know Will in another's heart repose, Another's voice will cheer .
And you will fondle baby clothes And brush away a tear.
But though you are estranged almost, And often lost to view, How you will see a little ghost Who ran to cling to you! Yet maybe children's children will Caress you with a smile .
Grandmother love will bless you still,-- Well, just a little while.

by Robert William Service | |

Old Sweethearts

 Oh Maggie, do you mind the day
 We went to school together,
And as we stoppit by the way
 I rolled you in the heather?
My! but you were the bonny lass
 And we were awfu' late for class.
Your locks are now as white as snow, And you are ripe and wrinkled, A grandmother ten times or so, Yet how your blue eyes twinkled At me above your spectacles, Recalling naughty neck-tickles! It must be fifty years today I left you for the Yukon; You haven't changed - your just as gay And just as sweet to look on.
But can you see in this old fool The lad who made you late for school? Oh Maggie, ask me in to tea And we can talk things over, And contemplate the nuptial state, For I am still your lover: And though the bell be slow to chime We'll no be grudgin' o' the time

by Alice Walker | |

When Golda Meir was in Africa

When Golda Meir
Was in Africa
She shook out her hair
And combed it
Everywhere she went.
According to her autobiography Africans loved this.
In Russia, Minneapolis, London, Washington, D.
, Germany, Palestine, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem She never combed at all.
There was no point.
In those Places people said, "She looks like Any other aging grandmother.
She looks Like a troll.
Let's sell her cookery And guns.
" "Kreplach your cookery," said Golda.
Only in Africa could she finally Settle down and comb her hair.
The children crept up and stroked it, And she felt beautiful.
Such wonderful people, Africans Childish, arrogant, self-indulgent, pompous, Cowardly and treacherous-a great disappointment To Israel, of course, and really rather Ridiculous in international affairs But, withal, opined Golda, a people of charm And good taste.

by Ellis Parker Butler | |

A Pastoral

 Just as the sun was setting
Back of the Western hills
Grandfather stood by the window
Eating the last of his pills.
And Grandmother, by the cupboard, Knitting, heard him say: “I ought to have went to the village To fetch some more pills today.
” Then Grandmother snuffled a teardrop And said.
“It is jest like I suz T’ th’ parson—Grandfather’s liver Ain’t what it used to was: “It’s gittin’ torpid and dormant, It don’t function like of old, And even them pills he swallers Don’t seem no more t’ catch hold; “They used to grab it and shake it And joggle it up and down And turn dear Grandfather yaller Except when they turned him brown; “I remember when we was married His liver was lively and gay, A kickin’ an’ rippin’ an’ givin’ Dear Ezry new pains ev’ry day; “It used to turn clear over backwards An’ palpitate wuss’n a pump An’ give him the janders and yallers An’ bounce around thumpty-thump; “But now it is torpid and dormant And painless and quiet and cold; Ah, me! all’s so peaceful an’ quiet Since Grandfather’s liver ’s grown old! Then Grandmother wiped a new teardrop And sighed: “It is just like I suz T’ th’ parson: Grandfather’s liver Ain’t what it used to was.

by Edgar Lee Masters | |

Rita Matlock Gruenberg

 Grandmother! You who sang to green valleys,
And passed to a sweet repose at ninety-six,
Here is your little Rita at last
Grown old, grown forty-nine;
Here stretched on your grave under the winter stars,
With the rustle of oak leaves over my head;
Piecing together strength for the act,
Last thoughts, memories, asking how I am here!
After wandering afar, over the world,
Life in cities, marriages, motehrhood--
(They all married, and I am homeless, alone.
) Grandmother! I have not lacked in strength, Nor will, nor courage.
No! I have honored you With a life that used these gifts of your blood.
But I was caught in trap after trap in the years.
At last the cruelist trap of all.
Then I fought the bars, pried open the door, Crawled through -- but it suddenly sprang shut, And tore me to death as I used your courage To free myself! Grandmother! Fold me to your breast again.
Make me earth with you for the blossoms of spring-- Grandmother!

by Edgar Lee Masters | |

Enoch Dunlap

 How many times, during the twenty years
I was your leader, friends of Spoon River,
Did you neglect the convention and caucus,
And leave the burden on my hands
Of guarding and saving the people's cause? --
Sometimes because you were ill;
Or your grandmother was ill;
Or you drank too much and fell asleep;
Or else you said: "He is our leader,
All will be well; he fights for us;
We have nothing to do but follow.
" But oh, how you cursed me when I fell, And cursed me, saying I had betrayed you, In leaving the caucus room for a moment, When the people's enemies, there assembled, Waited and watched for a chance to destroy The Sacred Rights of the People.
You common rabble! I left the caucus To go to the urinal.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

A Maidens Secret

  I have written this day down in my heart
As the sweetest day in the season;
From all of the others I've set it apart---
But I will not tell you the reason,
That is my secret---I must not tell;
But the skies are soft and tender,
And never before, I know full well,
Was the earth so full of splendour.
I sing at my labour the whole day long, And my heart is as light as a feather; And there is a reason for my glad song Besides the beautiful weather.
But I will not tell it to you; and though That thrush in the maple heard it, And would shout it aloud if he could, I know He hasn't the power to word it.
Up, where I was sewing, this morn came one Who told me the sweetest stories, He said I had stolen my hair from the sun, And my eyes from the morning glories.
Grandmother says that I must not believe A word men say, for they flatter; But I'm sure he would never try to deceive, For he told me---but there---no matter! Last night I was sad, and the world to me Seemed a lonely and dreary dwelling, But some one then had not asked me to be--- There now! I am almost telling.
Not another word shall my two lips say, I will shut them fast together, And never a mortal shall know to-day Why my heart is as light as a feather.

by Etheridge Knight | |

The Idea of Ancestry

 Taped to the wall of my cell are 47 pictures: 47 black
faces: my father, mother, grandmothers (1 dead), grand-
fathers (both dead), brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts,
cousins (1st and 2nd), nieces, and nephews.
They stare across the space at me sprawling on my bunk.
I know their dark eyes, they know mine.
I know their style, they know mine.
I am all of them, they are all of me; they are farmers, I am a thief, I am me, they are thee.
I have at one time or another been in love with my mother, 1 grandmother, 2 sisters, 2 aunts (1 went to the asylum), and 5 cousins.
I am now in love with a 7-yr-old niece (she sends me letters in large block print, and her picture is the only one that smiles at me).
I have the same name as 1 grandfather, 3 cousins, 3 nephews, and 1 uncle.
The uncle disappeared when he was 15, just took off and caught a freight (they say).
He's discussed each year when the family has a reunion, he causes uneasiness in the clan, he is an empty space.
My father's mother, who is 93 and who keeps the Family Bible with everbody's birth dates (and death dates) in it, always mentions him.
There is no place in her Bible for "whereabouts unknown.

by Edward Lear | |

There was a Young Person of Smyrna

There was a Young Person of Smyrna,
Whose Grandmother threatened to burn her;
But she seized on the Cat, and said, "Granny, burn that!
You incongruous Old Woman of Smyrna!"

by Marge Piercy | |

Belly Good

 A heap of wheat, says the Song of Songs 
but I've never seen wheat in a pile.
Apples, potatoes, cabbages, carrots make lumpy stacks, but you are sleek as a seal hauled out in the winter sun.
I can see you as a great goose egg or a single juicy and fully ripe peach.
You swell like a natural grassy hill.
You are symmetrical as a Hopewell mound, with the eye of the navel wide open, the eye of my apple, the pear's port window.
You're not supposed to exist at all this decade.
You're to be flat as a kitchen table, so children with roller skates can speed over you like those sidewalks of my childhood that each gave a different roar under my wheels.
You're required to show muscle striations like the ocean sand at ebb tide, but brick hard.
Clothing is not designed for women of whose warm and flagrant bodies you are a swelling part.
Yet I confess I meditate with my hands folded on you, a maternal cushion radiating comfort.
Even when I have been at my thinnest, you have never abandoned me but curled round as a sleeping cat under my skirt.
When I spread out, so do you.
You like to eat, drink and bang on another belly.
In anxiety I clutch you with nervous fingers as if you were a purse full of calm.
In my grandmother standing in the fierce sun I see your cauldron that held eleven children shaped under the tent of her summer dress.
I see you in my mother at thirty in her flapper gear, skinny legs and then you knocking on the tight dress.
We hand you down like a prize feather quilt.
You are our female shame and sunburst strength.

by Elizabeth Bishop | |


 September rain falls on the house.
In the failing light, the old grandmother sits in the kitchen with the child beside the Little Marvel Stove, reading the jokes from the almanac, laughing and talking to hide her tears.
She thinks that her equinoctial tears and the rain that beats on the roof of the house were both foretold by the almanac, but only known to a grandmother.
The iron kettle sings on the stove.
She cuts some bread and says to the child, It's time for tea now; but the child is watching the teakettle's small hard tears dance like mad on the hot black stove, the way the rain must dance on the house.
Tidying up, the old grandmother hangs up the clever almanac on its string.
Birdlike, the almanac hovers half open above the child, hovers above the old grandmother and her teacup full of dark brown tears.
She shivers and says she thinks the house feels chilly, and puts more wood in the stove.
It was to be, says the Marvel Stove.
I know what I know, says the almanac.
With crayons the child draws a rigid house and a winding pathway.
Then the child puts in a man with buttons like tears and shows it proudly to the grandmother.
But secretly, while the grandmother busies herself about the stove, the little moons fall down like tears from between the pages of the almanac into the flower bed the child has carefully placed in the front of the house.
Time to plant tears, says the almanac.
The grandmother sings to the marvelous stove and the child draws another inscrutable house.

by Louise Gluck | |


 My mother's playing cards with my aunt,
Spite and Malice, the family pastime, the game
my grandmother taught all her daughters.
Midsummer: too hot to go out.
Today, my aunt's ahead; she's getting the good cards.
My mother's dragging, having trouble with her concentration.
She can't get used to her own bed this summer.
She had no trouble last summer, getting used to the floor.
She learned to sleep there to be near my father.
He was dying; he got a special bed.
My aunt doesn't give an inch, doesn't make allowance for my mother's weariness.
It's how they were raised: you show respect by fighting.
To let up insults the opponent.
Each player has one pile to the left, five cards in the hand.
It's good to stay inside on days like this, to stay where it's cool.
And this is better than other games, better than solitaire.
My grandmother thought ahead; she prepared her daughters.
They have cards; they have each other.
They don't need any more companionship.
All afternoon the game goes on but the sun doesn't move.
It just keeps beating down, turning the grass yellow.
That's how it must seem to my mother.
And then, suddenly, something is over.
My aunt's been at it longer; maybe that's why she's playing better.
Her cards evaporate: that's what you want, that's the object: in the end, the one who has nothing wins.

by Louise Gluck | |


 In our family, there were two saints,
my aunt and my grandmother.
But their lives were different.
My grandmother's was tranquil, even at the end.
She was like a person walking in calm water; for some reason the sea couldn't bring itself to hurt her.
When my aunt took the same path, the waves broke over her, they attacked her, which is how the Fates respond to a true spiritual nature.
My grandmother was cautious, conservative: that's why she escaped suffering.
My aunt's escaped nothing; each time the sea retreats, someone she loves is taken away.
Still she won't experience the sea as evil.
To her, it is what it is: where it touches land, it must turn to violence.

by Kimiko Hahn | |

In Childhood

 things don't die or remain damaged 
but return: stumps grow back hands, 
a head reconnects to a neck, 
a whole corpse rises blushing and newly elastic.
Later this vision is not True: the grandmother remains dead not hibernating in a wolf's belly.
Or the blue parakeet does not return from the little grave in the fern garden though one may wake in the morning thinking mother's call is the bird.
Or maybe the bird is with grandmother inside light.
Or grandmother was the bird and is now the dog gnawing on the chair leg.
Where do the gone things go when the child is old enough to walk herself to school, her playmates already pumping so high the swing hiccups?

by Geoffrey Hill | |

Mercian Hymns XXV

 Brooding on the eightieth letter of Fors Clavigera, I speak this in
memory of my grandmother, whose childhood and prime womanhood were spent
in the nailer's darg.
The nailshop stood back of the cottage, by the fold.
It reeked stale mineral sweat.
Sparks had furred its low roof.
In dawn-light the troughed water floated a damson-bloom of dust --- not to be shaken by posthumous clamour.
It is one thing to celebrate the 'quick forge', another to cradle a face hare-lipped by the searing wire.
Brooding on the eightieth letter of Fors Clavigera, I speak this in memory of my grandmother, whose childhood and prime womanhood were spent in the nailer's darg.

by William Carlos (WCW) Williams | |

The Last Words Of My English Grandmother

 There were some dirty plates
and a glass of milk
beside her on a small table
near the rank, disheveled bed—

Wrinkled and nearly blind
she lay and snored
rousing with anger in her tones
to cry for food,

Gimme something to eat—
They're starving me—
I'm all right I won't go
to the hospital.
No, no, no Give me something to eat Let me take you to the hospital, I said and after you are well you can do as you please.
She smiled, Yes you do what you please first then I can do what I please— Oh, oh, oh! she cried as the ambulance men lifted her to the stretcher— Is this what you call making me comfortable? By now her mind was clear— Oh you think you're smart you young people, she said, but I'll tell you you don't know anything.
Then we started.
On the way we passed a long row of elms.
She looked at them awhile out of the ambulance window and said, What are all those fuzzy-looking things out there? Trees? Well, I'm tired of them and rolled her head away.

by William Carlos (WCW) Williams | |

Dedication For A Plot Of Ground

 This plot of ground 
facing the waters of this inlet 
is dedicated to the living presence of 
Emily Dickinson Wellcome 
who was born in England; married; 
lost her husband and with 
her five year old son 
sailed for New York in a two-master; 
was driven to the Azores; 
ran adrift on Fire Island shoal, 
met her second husband 
in a Brooklyn boarding house, 
went with him to Puerto Rico 
bore three more children, lost 
her second husband, lived hard 
for eight years in St.
Thomas, Puerto Rico, San Domingo, followed the oldest son to New York, lost her daughter, lost her "baby," seized the two boys of the oldest son by the second marriage mothered them—they being motherless—fought for them against the other grandmother and the aunts, brought them here summer after summer, defended herself here against thieves, storms, sun, fire, against flies, against girls that came smelling about, against drought, against weeds, storm-tides, neighbors, weasels that stole her chickens, against the weakness of her own hands, against the growing strength of the boys, against wind, against the stones, against trespassers, against rents, against her own mind.
She grubbed this earth with her own hands, domineered over this grass plot, blackguarded her oldest son into buying it, lived here fifteen years, attained a final loneliness and— If you can bring nothing to this place but your carcass, keep out.

by Carl Sandburg | |


 THE WISHES on this child’s mouth
Came like snow on marsh cranberries;
The tamarack kept something for her;
The wind is ready to help her shoes.
The north has loved her; she will be A grandmother feeding geese on frosty Mornings; she will understand Early snow on the cranberries Better and better then.

by Thomas Hardy | |

The Colonels Solilquy

 "The quay recedes.
Hurrah! Ahead we go! .
It's true I've been accustomed now to home, And joints get rusty, and one's limbs may grow More fit to rest than roam.
"But I can stand as yet fair stress and strain; There's not a little steel beneath the rust; My years mount somewhat, but here's to't again! And if I fall, I must.
"God knows that for myself I've scanty care; Past scrimmages have proved as much to all; In Eastern lands and South I've had my share Both of the blade and ball.
"And where those villains ripped me in the flitch With their old iron in my early time, I'm apt at change of wind to feel a twitch, Or at a change of clime.
"And what my mirror shows me in the morning Has more of blotch and wrinkle than of bloom; My eyes, too, heretofore all glasses scorning, Have just a touch of rheum .
"Now sounds 'The Girl I've left behind me,'--Ah, The years, the ardours, wakened by that tune! Time was when, with the crowd's farewell 'Hurrah!' 'Twould lift me to the moon.
"But now it's late to leave behind me one Who if, poor soul, her man goes underground, Will not recover as she might have done In days when hopes abound.
"She's waving from the wharfside, palely grieving, As down we draw .
Her tears make little show, Yet now she suffers more than at my leaving Some twenty years ago.
"I pray those left at home will care for her! I shall come back; I have before; though when The Girl you leave behind you is a grandmother, Things may not be as then.

by Nikki Giovanni | |

Knoxville Tennessee

 I always like summer
you can eat fresh corn
From daddy's garden
And okra
And greens
And cabbage
And lots of
And buttermilk
And homemade ice-cream
At the church picnic
And listen to
Gospel music
At the church
And go to the mountains with
Your grandmother
And go barefooted
And be warm
All the time
Not only when you go to bed
And sleep